Sharktopus vs Whalewolf (2015) poster

Sharktopus vs Whalewolf (2015)


USA. 2015.


Director – Kevin O’Neill, Screenplay – Matt Yamashita, Producers – Julie Corman & Roger Corman, Photography – Hernan Herrera, Music – Charles Bernstein & Ryan D. Beveridge, Visual Effects/Animation – Flat Earth Productions (Supervisor – Kevin O’Neill), Creature Effects – Patrick Denver. Production Company – New Horizons.


Casper Van Dien (Ray Brady), Akari Endo (Inspector Nita Morales), Catherine Oxenberg (Dr Reinhardt), Jorge E. De Los Santos (Pablo), Tony Almont (Chief Francois Tiny), Mario Arturo Hernandez (Felix Rosa), Mangui Rodriguez (Linda Mason), Jennifer Wenger (Nurse Betty), Patricia Soriano (Chief Tiny’s Sister)


Ray Brady runs a tour boat in the Dominican Republic but has an alcohol problem. He takes a funeral party out so they can conduct a burial at sea only for them to be attacked and the widow devoured by the sharktopus. He is thrown in jail by local police chief Nita Morales, thought to be drunk. He is bailed out by the voodoo priest Chief Francois Tiny who wants Ray to bring the heart of the sharktopus back for one of his ceremonies. Meanwhile, Dr Reinhardt runs an anti-aging clinic in the town. She tries out an experimental process on Felix Rosa, an aging baseball star who wants to regain his youth. This serves to turn him into a monster whale-wolf hybrid. As the whalewolf rampages through the area, it and the sharktopus are destined to clash.

The 2000s gave us a fad for deliberately ridiculous Killer Shark films, beginning with Shark in Venice (2008) and the big hit of Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009) followed by the cult hit Sharknado (2013). Since then we have had the wilfully absurd likes of Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast (2011), 2-Headed Shark Attack (2012), Sand Sharks (2012), Avalanche Sharks (2013), 90210 Shark Attack (2014), Raiders of the Lost Shark (2015), Roboshark (2015), Zombie Shark (2015), Piranha Sharks (2016), Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (2016), Sharkenstein (2016), Toxic Shark (2017), Trailer Park Shark (2017), Post Apocalyptic Commando Shark (2018), Santa Jaws (2018), Ouija Shark (2020), Sky Sharks (2020), Noah’s Shark (2021), Sharks of the Corn (2021), Virus Shark (2021) and Shark Side of the Moon (2022), among others.

Low-budget film producer Roger Corman quickly jumped aboard the fad with Sharktopus (2010). For its sequel Sharktopus vs Pteracuda (2014), he followed the lead established by The Asylum with Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus and began pitting various monsters against one another in a series of increasingly ridiculous ‘vs’ battles. This was followed by Sharktopus vs Whalewolf. Both of the sequels were shot by director Kevin O’Neill in the Dominican Republic.

The effects are extremely cheap-looking and unconvincing. (In his day job, director Kevin O’Neill heads the visual effects company Flat Earth Productions, which also provides the effects for the film). The whalewolf looks expectedly ridiculous – like a giant dog with an attached fish’s body. Around this same time, The Asylum had gravitated to work that was of a much more professional standard but O’Neill’s work is the sort of stuff that gets automatically dismissed as Bad Movie material.

Showdown between whalewolf and sharktopus in Sharktopus vs Whalewolf (2015)
Showdown between whalewolf (l) and sharktopus (r)

What sinks the film even more is a campy unserious attitude. Kevin O’Neill takes nothing seriously. Casper Van Dien wavers between seriousness and ridiculousness in his performance. On the other hand, neither Catherine Oxenberg (who was Casper Van Dien’s wife at the time) as the mad scientist in a breathy fake Germanic accent and especially Tony Almont as the voodoo priest make zero effort to take the lines they are required to deliver seriously. The one to hold up their end best is a surprisingly serious and intent Akari Endo, a Dominican native, as the police chief.

By the end of the show, things become completely absurd. They did too in the Sharknado films, where the worst of the sequels had the attitude that regarded the audience as stupid for enjoying them. There is the same sense here during the later scenes where Casper Van Dien wields a voodoo totem that allows him to communicate with the sharktopus and it starts doing things like scratching its head and picking its teeth with its tentacles, slapping Van Dien around with a tentacle or popping up to tap a map so he can can find directions. The climactic scenes have Casper Van Dien using an automatic ball throwing machine to get the whalewolf to play fetch. It’s not the most ridiculous killer shark film ever made but is certainly a strong contender.

Kevin O’Neill has been a visual effects supervisor usually with Flat Earth Productions. He has directed several other films for Roger Corman’s New Horizons with Dinocroc (2004), Dinoshark (2010), Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader (2012) and Dracano (2013),

(Winner in this site’s Worst Films of 2015 list).

Trailer here

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